Federal Maritime Commissioner Mario Cordero, who will depart the agency next month to become executive director of the Port of Long Beach
, said in an interview with American Shipper
Monday he is pleased that in addition to its regulatory role, the FMC has become a “facilitator… fostering the fair, efficient, reliable movement of international waterborne transport.”
Cordero became an FMC commissioner in 2011 and was appointed chairman in April 2013. He was replaced as head of the agency earlier this year when President Donald Trump named Michael Khouri as the commission's acting chairman
Cordero said he believes Khouri will do an excellent job and he supports the direction Khouri is taking the FMC.
“I think the shipping public and the stakeholders have found value in the FMC," he said. "Together my colleagues in the commission, we shared responsibility and the credit for that. I’m sure Acting Chairman Khouri will continue in that mold, making sure the FMC not only pursues and supports the mission, but is accessible to stakeholders and addresses their concerns.”
Looking back, Cordero said, “I think it is fair to say that in the last couple of years, the FMC has been relied on by stakeholders."
Cordero pointed to the agency’s engagement in issues such as port congestion and the implementation of container weight rules required under the International Maritime Organization’s Safety of Life at Sea Convention.
Looking ahead, Cordero said he is excited to return to Long Beach where he served as a member of its Board of Commissioners from 2003-2011, which he was president of in 2007-2008.
He will leave the FMC May 12 and take his new job at the port May 15.
"In this transitional period, I plan to meet with the commission and discuss how we move forward," he said. "It’s an interesting opportunity for me to work at the second largest port in the nation."
Lou Anne Bynum, vice president of the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners, said last Friday that during what was a comprehensive international search for a new director to replace Jon Slangerup, who had left as chief executive of the port last fall, it became clear that Cordero was an ideal choice to lead the port into the future.
Bynum cited Cordero's “collaborative approach and ability to build consensus,” saying this was necessary as the shipping industry reshapes itself.
She said Cordero's experience at the FMC and Port of Long Beach gave him knowledge of the needs of terminal operators, carriers, cargo owners and other trade partners.
He “loves this city," she said. "He is keenly aware of how important this port is to our economy and jump started our green port policy that is now a worldwide standard."
The commission voted unanimously to hire Cordero at a salary $168.27 an hour. At 40 hours a week, that amounts to $350,000 per year.